It's not just Russia anymore. In a truly shameful development, Kansas is set to legalize discrimination against gay people, effectively making the LGBT community second-class citizens in Kansas. On Tuesday, the Kansas House Of Representatives passed House Bill 2453, a reprehensible and hateful piece of legislation that permits carte blanche discrimination against Kansas' LGBT residents by anyone citing a “sincerely held religious belief.”
The bill is extremely wide-reaching, and it allows just about everyone — private employers, landlords, state offices and government officials — to deny services or employment to people based solely on their sexual orientation. It’s expected to pass the state Senate, and once Governor Sam Brownback signs it, segregation will be the law of the land in Kansas.
Make no mistake: This bill was crafted and passed solely to legalize the subjugation of gay people. Its supporters claim that it’s intended to prevent discrimination against religious people, which is patent nonsense, unless you think it’s discriminatory to allow LGBT people to rent apartments and purchase goods.
Because the law allows both public and private entities to discriminate, it has the potential to make life incredibly difficult for LGBT Kansans.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of what Kansas residents will be legally able to do if this bill passes:
- Stores will be allowed to turn away gay people at the door
- Hotels will be allowed to refuse to rent rooms to same-sex couples
- If police officers get an emergency call from a gay Kansan, they’ll be legally permitted to not respond to it
- The state will be allowed to withhold unemployment benefits from gay Kansans
- Landlords will be allowed to kick gay tenants out of their residencies, with the officially-stated reason being the tenants’ sexual orientation
Oh, and don’t even think about trying to sue the state over any of this: The bill requires anybody bringing an anti-discrimination suit against Kansas on the grounds of sexual orientation to pay the state’s legal fees.
While Russia has been getting all of the attention for its anti-gay laws, Kansas is now legislating homophobia on just as draconian of a level. This is no less than a Jim Crow law for LGBT people, and Kansas has shamed itself by supporting it.
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